British Supreme Court: Yes, You Can. (Go To Jewish School.)

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that London's Jewish Free School practiced racial discrimination when it gave lower admissions priority to a pupil on grounds that he was not ethnically Jewish:

The school, which has far more applicants than it has places, gives priority to those children whose mothers are Jewish. M, the student in question, was raised in a practicing Jewish home, but his mother is a convert from Catholicism, and converted in a reform temple. (However, those students whose parents are atheists would still be given priority, were the mother "ethnically" Jewish.) When M.'s father took the school to court, he won; however, the school appealed - hence the Supreme Court ruling.

While this may not seem to be a big issue - how many non-Jews, after all, are going to be eager for a strict parochial education, so how much will the new "religious practice" tests matter? - it could have wide-ranging implications for all faith-based schools. And, says England's orthodox community, for modern Judaism as a whole. Said the President of the United Synagogue, to the Guardian, "Essentially, we must now apply a non-Jewish definition of who is Jewish...These are matters of principle. If we don't fight this, what do we fight? These are germane to everything we believe in."


Jewish School Loses Appeal
[Guardian]
Jewish School Loses Places Fight [BBC]